Oct. 6-12 was National Fire Prevention Week in Oregon. In following the theme of Prevent Kitchen Fires, this year's focus is safety in the kitchen, specifically cooking safety. The Office of State Fire Marshal warns that cooking related fires are the No. 1 cause of residential fires in Oregon.
From 2008 through 2012, Oregon had 3,601 reported cooking-related fires, causing four fatalities, 219 injuries, and more than $32 million in property loss.
"Cooking-related fires are preventable, and preventing fires is everyone's responsibility," said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. "Keep a watchful eye on what you cook; most kitchen fires begin when cooking food is left unattended. It's amazing how quickly cooking on the stove can flare up causing burns or destroying your home," Walker said.
The Office of State Fire Marshal recommends the following fire safety tips:
* Stay in the kitchen when using the stovetop. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
* Keep cooking area clean, including stovetop, burners, oven, and exhaust fan.
* Keep anything that can catch fire - oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, and towels away from your stovetop.
* Wear clothing that will not dangle onto stove burners and catch fire .
* Do not use the stovetop as a countertop.
* Cooking oil can ignite quickly. Heat oil slowly and watch it closely.
"Never pour water on a grease fire, Walker noted. "It can spatter the grease and spread the fire."
If a fire starts in a pan follow these tips:
* Turn off the burner.
* Let it cool down completely before taking off the lid.
* Don't pick up the pan and move it.
If fire breaks on in the oven or microwave, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
If you are in doubt about controlling a kitchen fire, just get out! Close the door behind you to help contain the fire. Call 9-1-1 after you leave.
Fire Prevention Week is observed nationally each year during the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, notorious for having killed 250 people and destroying a large part of the city on Oct. 9, 1871.
Oregon fire departments statewide sponsor Fire Prevention Week activities in their communities.